Premier League – Stars of the Week: Matchweek 5

Another week gone, another round of Premier League matches absolutely brimming with drama has come to pass. From the crazy ending of Manchester United’s dramatic win at West Ham to the flag denying Manchester City a late – and somewhat undeserved – winning goal, there were talking points aplenty as the 2021/22 Premier League reached a half-century of matches.

Beyond the two Manchester Clubs, the likes of Watford, Chelsea and Brentford were the big winners of Matchweek 5, providing us with the finest of the weekend’s goals and entertainment. The breadth of both attacking and defensive brilliance means that we have an intriguing and diverse edition of Stars of the Week, with the maximum number of five teams represented.

Stars of the Week in Premier League – Matchweek 5

Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)

David De Gea of Manchester United

Making an appearance between the sticks for the second time already this season is Manchester United’s David De Gea, whose incredible late heroics led his team to a much-needed win at West Ham’s London Stadium.

After United had snatched the lead in the final minute of the 90, their hopes of three points looked set to slip away after the Hammers were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time – only for De Gea to rescue the day with a sensational penalty save from Mark Noble.

It was the Spaniard’s first penalty save for United in over five years, the latest sign that De Gea could well be returning to his best. After suffering from some rocky form for the best part of three years now, this could be some perfectly timed redemption for the United goalkeeper, with his side looking to put together a serious title challenge.

Defender: Jan Bednarek (Southampton)

Jan Bednarek

It was Chelsea’s centre backs who stole the headlines this weekend by netting two goals against a toothless and dejected Tottenham, but up in Manchester it was Southampton’s Jan Bednarek who enjoyed a stunning performance of his own.

Having not started a Premier League match so far this season, Bednarek faced the ultimate test when he was named in the line-up to face Manchester City on Saturday, especially given the two horror shows that he endured in Manchester last season. This time around though, Bednarek was the star of a titanic defensive effort, making four blocks, four interceptions and six tackles as Southampton came away with a more than a deserved point.

The Poland international has had his fair share of critics, especially during Southampton’s collapse in the second half of last season, but this performance really was a statement of intent to his doubters.

Midfielder: Ismaila Sarr (Watford)

Ismaila-Sarr-watford
Image source: premierleague.com

A three-match losing run was stylishly brought to a halt by Watford at Carrow Road on Saturday, as the talismanic Ismaila Sarr ran the show for the Hornets to pile more misery on fellow promoted side Norwich City.

Playing as a right sided attacking midfielder behind striker Josh King, the Senegal international got up and running in the first half with some nice interplay on the right-hand side that led to Watford’s opening goal. After the break, Sarr caused more aggravation for Norwich when he drifted into the box to score from King’s cutback and re-establish Watford’s lead, before sealing the win with another goal after King’s shot was saved.

It’s already clear that if Watford are to survive their first season back in the big time, then Sarr will be the key to steering them to safety, and if he manages more performances like this in these types of fixtures then the balance will likely be in Watford’s favour.

Forward: Ivan Toney (Brentford)

ivan-toney-brentford-celebrates-goal

From the contrasting fortunes of two promoted teams to the even better fortunes of another, Brentford secured their second win of the season this weekend away to Wolves, strengthening what has already been a terrific start to the season from them.

Record-breaking forward Ivan Toney was the driving force behind Brentford’s push to the top flight last season and this match was the clearest sign yet that the striker is now finding his feet in the Premier League. Toney won and then scored an emphatic penalty shortly before the half-hour mark to give the Bees the lead against Wolves, and a few minutes later produced a pinpoint cross for strike partner Mbeumo to net his first goal of the season.

From what we’ve seen so far this season it looks like Brentford are well-oiled defensively with three clean sheets already, and if Toney can keep producing at the other end then the West London side may well be in for a memorable season indeed.

Manager: Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

thomas tuchel chelsea manager

We mentioned the array of excellent performances that were witnessed this weekend in the Premier League, but in terms of a collective team display, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea topped the lot with a fantastic second half that blew away London rivals Tottenham.

After a forgettable first 45 in which Chelsea looked unthreatened but lethargic against the hosts, Tuchel made a decisive change at the break by swapping Mason Mount for N’Golo Kante, and from that point on it looked like there would only be one winner.

Reinvigorated in the second half, it was Kante himself who surprised everyone by getting on the scoresheet, either side of goals from centre backs Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners.

Tuchel’s quick action with substitutions demonstrated his high standards for players and moulding of a great team ethos that supersedes individuals, a point underpinned by the fact that the Blues have already had ten different goalscorers in the league this season. It’s certainly a core element of Chelsea’s developing title challenge.

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